Saturday, March 5, 2011

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression, shown through clinical studies and experimentation, have been shown to be two distinctly different mental conditions. However, there has been shown to be a link between the two, as many people with one condition have the other.

While linked, there has yet to have been any concrete link found between anxiety and depression. At the present time, the relationship between both anxiety and depression has been called "comorbidity."

This term means "unrelated, but co-existing." The symptoms often overlap, which makes this harder for people to deal with, and makes it hard for mental health practitioners to initially diagnose. The symptoms, with some people, also act independently of each other.

According to a study committed by the National Comorbidity Survey found that 58% of all patients with major depression also exhibit lifetime anxiety. "Agitated depression" and "akathitic depression" are terms commonly used when referring to these results.

Both of these depression states exhibit similar symptoms. There is heightened anxiety, restlessness, a feeling of dread and suicidal thoughts or tendencies. What separates these two is that agitated depression includes both nonclinical and nonspecific panic, while akathitic does not include these panic symptoms.

Anxiety, whether mild or extreme, completely changes depression symptoms. Even the smallest amount of anxiety has been shown to impact the course of depression.

For example, the University of Pittsburg have completed a study on this topic. They found that patients diagnosed both with depression and anxiety take a completely different path in their treatment. It takes much longer, and there are significant delays, in the effectiveness of any psychological treatments.

Not only that, but there have been shown to be differences after treatment. Patients with both depression and anxiety have a much harder time resuming normal life activities after treatment is finished then those who only suffer from depression.

Theories exist stating the possibility that depression and anxiety act similarly and synergistically to attempt avoidance of any potentially harmful situations for the sufferer. Anxiety avoids and prepares sufferers for physical danger, while depression does the same for emotional or psychological danger.


Do you suffer from high cholesterol? You're not the only one, many people suffer from having high cholesterol. To lower your cholesterol, here are 10 tips to get you started right now.

Diet and exercise are essential. Food is critical to lowering cholesterol, so that is included in these tips.

LDL and HDL are two different types of cholesterol, but they should never be confused. Think of HDL as "healthy" and LDL as "unhealthy." HDL actually lowers cholesterol, by carrying it via the blood vessels, and decreases the chance of a heart attack. LDL cakes up and sticks to your artery walls, inevitably leading to heart disease.

The good news is that cholesterol is easy to change and alter for the better. Here are some tips on how:

1. Eat a sandwich with whole-wheat bread, or a pita, and some turkey slices with tons of fresh veggies like lettuce, peppers and onions. Toss away the processed meats and skip the Mayo. Mayo and bologna or salami may taste good, but your heart can only take so much fatty meats.

2. Fish, like salmon, is very heart-healthy and helps with cholesterol levels. Look for the wild red species, which is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids (otherwise known as good fat). Flax seed is another source of Omega-3 fatty acids which lower bad cholesterol.

3. Never eat trans fats! Avoid it like the plague! Not only does trans fat raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, it also depletes HDL levels! This deadly combination is the upmost culprit for heart attacks, heart disease and clogged arteries. Anything with "partially hydrogenated oil" should be blacklisted from your diet.

4. Go nuts! Look for walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and macadamia nuts. Nuts are high in healthy fats. If you don't like to chew nuts, go for natural nut butters. You may be surprised by just how good almond butter is.

5. Keep desserts to a minimum, and if you can't keep away from the sweets, go for low sugar snacks. Some that fit the bill are graham crackers, angel food cake, frozen yogurt and Jell-O.

6. Get your daily amount of fiber. Whole wheat bread, some cereal, oatmeal, vegetables, fruits, vegetables, and beans should become your daily friends.

7. Go for the grill. If you're hankering for a steak or burger, grill them to avoid excess grease, which limits the bad fat, and to just make the meat taste great.

8. Look for a different salad dressing. Most are stuffed with trans fats and high cholesterol. Olive oil is a good alternative with a few spices, and vinegar or lemon juice can add to the flavor. Avoid bacon bits, croutons, and egg yolks, as all of these increase LDL cholesterol.

9. Go for nature's candy like apples, grapes and strawberries. Not only are they sweet and will help with cholesterol and your weight, but they also are full of antioxidants.

10. Avoid fast food joints or anywhere that uses a deep fryer. These foods will skyrocket your cholesterol to deadly levels, especially if you have a preexisting problem.

Just commit to these changes and your cholesterol will get better in no time flat.


The Griffonia simplicifolia vegetable, a native to Africa, is known for high levels of 5-HydroxyTryptophan, better known as its abbreviation: 5-HTP. 5-HTP is an amino acid, or a building block for protein, that is a precursor of serotonin. Serotonin plays an important part in our lives, as it is a neurotransmitter with relaxing and soothing effects. The typical American diet does not rate very highly for 5-HTP. The closest the American diet sees to 5-HTP is L-Trytophan, another animo acid found most commonly during Thanksgiving from ingesting turkeys. However, L-Trytophan does not elevate 5-HTP significantly.

5-HTP and Carb Cravings
Researchers have discovered that poor serotonin levels are partially responsible for overeating. Therefore, obese individuals who crave high amounts of carbs tend to exhibit abnormally low levels of serotonin. Taking a 5-HTP supplement 30 minutes before a meal can kill cravings and hunger pain by increase serotonin, keeping you from craving extra food. In this way, 5-HTP is a great assistant in a weight-loss diet.

5-HTP and Serotonin
5-HTP, due to its ability to raise serotonin, improves and elevates mood, lowers anxiety and is helpful in weight loss. In structure, 5-HTP is an amino acid that acts as an intermediary between L-Tryptophan and serotonin. Evidence exists suggesting that low serotonin is a common repercussion of modern living. The dietary practices and sedentary lifestyle of many people living in this stress-riddled era results in lower serotonin levels in the brain.

5-HTP and PMS
Women experiencing PMS sufferers exhibit pain relief, along with lower irritability and less frequent (to non-existant) mood swings from using 5-HTP supplements. The supplement counters the serotonin drop that naturally occurs during the menstrual cycle.

5-HTP and Addiction
Many commonplace addictive substances, including alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and some narcotics, raises serotonin. If ever eliminated, serotonin levels drop dramatically, causing stress, cravings and anxiety. Using a 5-HTP supplement will help even out serotonin and works to minimize the withdrawal symptoms.

5-HTP and Sleep
Because of the calming side effect attributed to serotonin, many people use 5-HTP to alleviate stress, and to assist in restful sleep. Unlike sedatives, 5-HTP is not land-mined with unwanted side effects, such as grogginess or unusual sleep patterns. Supplements can be taken regularly about an hour before going to bed as a cure for tossing and turning or insomnia.

Side Effects
Extreme intakes of 5-HTP have been shown to cause muscle spasms in guinea pigs, and both spasms and diarrhea in lab mice. Rats have experience kidney damage when injected with high levels of 5-HTP. These symptoms, to date, have never been recorded by human consumption. "Serotonin syndrome," an uncommon condition caused from excessive serotonin, has not been reported by 5-HTP users; however, in theory, this could still cause serotonin syndrome. Follow dosage amounts recommended by packaging or doctors to avoid this serious condition.

5-HTP should not be taken with any serotonin-modifying chemicals or supplements, or substances which cause liver damage, because when combined with these types of substances, 5-HTP can have serious side effects. Consumers with liver disease may not be able to ingest 5-HTP properly, and those with autoimmune diseases (such as scleroderma or HIV) tend to be more sensitive than others. These people should not consume 5-HTP without speaking with a healthcare professional.

Conditions which have been alleviated by 5-HTP are:
-Carbohydrate craving
-Sleep apnea
-Migraine headaches
-Tension headaches
-Premenstrual syndrome
-Chronic daily headaches


After some informal research, it is apparent that no one knows where the phrase, "you need eight cups of water a day" comes from. Some link it to a an obscure 1980's study, while others believe that doctors told people that amount because it's a good goal, but had no scientific research to back it.

Either way, the point is that water does wonders for your body, brain and skin. Water is prized for cleansing your body of harmful chemicals, via the intestines, and also through the urinal tract. Without adequate water intake, the human body breaks down rapidly, in just a matter of days to be more precise.

Here are 3 easy tips for drinking more water.

1. Always have a bottle of water handy.

I buy those 12 ounce bottles of water, the ones you find at any food store, and keep them chilled in the fridge. Whenever I leave the house, for gym, work, a 30 minute or longer trip, I grab a bottle to go.

Whenever I am watching a movie, TV or am working on my computer, I keep the bottle close by, usually with the cap off (unless it's by the computer), so I can easily sip from the bottle until it is completely gone.

2. Keep the water cold, it tastes better.

I'm not sure about you, but the thought of drinking warm or room temperature water never seems appetizing. It's usually the thing that keeps me from drinking water. But, if your water supply is child, you will drink more often, because it tastes and feels better.

Have ice in the freezer, just in case you run out of cold bottles. This way, you can always get your water cold in seconds.

3. Choose water when eating out.

When I go to a restaurant, I always ask the waiter for ice water with a lemon wedge. The water itself is cold and refreshing, and the lemon gives it some zing. The lemon also keeps you from missing that favorite soda, tea or coffee that you would usually order.

Try these tips and have a better hydrated life!


Bankruptcy is a scary thing, and if often laden in much mystery. One of these mysteries is whether or not you will be able to keep any of your credit cards after filing for bankruptcy, just for emergencies.

Generally speaking, credit card issuers will automatically cancel all credit cards as soon as the bankruptcy notice is filed. However, there are some exceptions to the rule where credit card issuers will allow you to keep a card. But, the credit card's value and APR will be modified.

This exception is only available to Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers, or those who are filing to get rid of all the debt. This is opposed to Chapter 13, where one files to have all debts consolidated and paid down according to a payment schedule.

Some issuers will allow you to keep the card, and will send you a proposed reaffirmation agreement. This reaffirmation agreement is a contract between you and the creditor. It states the new credit limit, along with the percentage rates. Normally, to agree to this, you will have to pay back all or some of the credit card debt to keep the card. The part you pay back is safe from bankruptcy, so after the filing is finished you will still have to pay back the debt if you agree.

If you agree to the reaffirmation agreement, then the card will be yours, but with a substantially higher interest rate. But, and you should pay attention to this to keep yourself from getting back into hot water, if you can pay down the credit card's balance each month, the higher rates will not be applicable. This also helps your credit score, as you will show that you are responsible and can pay your debts.

If you are filing anything other than Chapter 7, then all of your credit cards will be forfeit when the filing occurs. Some people try to get around this but not reporting credit cards which have a zero balance. This seems like it would work, because if the credit card has a zero balance, then that creditor isn't losing out.

This is illegal, as it shown preference to one creditor. Also, this credit card must be taken into effect when the trustee is calculating your repayment schedule. All in all, it's not worth trying to keep your credit card a secret, as this can land you with fines and jail time.

If you aren't eligible to file Chapter 7 and have to file another Chapter, and you didn't get approval from your credit card company to keep any of your cards, then the best thing to do is report them and give them up. After the bankruptcy is finished, you will work with a debt management consultant to rebuild your credit so you can be eligible for credit cards again.

By working hard and focusing on repaying all your bills after the bankruptcy, you can rebuild your credit and remove the stigma of bankruptcy.


When you refinance the entire value, 100%, of your house, you are essentially taking all the value out of property. This procedure costs money. Typically, you will be required to pay about 3% of your home's total value to cover the closing costs. You may also need private mortgage insurance, because all of your home's equity is used up. However, if you work with a sub-prime lender, the insurance needs may be waived. Refinancing also bestows some tax benefits, such as deducting interest and closing costs.

A full 100% refinance costs more than the typical refinancing, because you are borrowing against the entire value of your property and home. Before going with the first refinancing institution you find, do some research. There are plenty of websites where lenders compete for your home, and you can read the terms and conditions for this refinancing. Before applying, be sure to know the rough estimate of your home, along with your credit score and level of debt. This will make all the quotes more realistic.

Another option to hiring one mortgage firm to refinance 100% of your equity is to get two or more mortgage firms to refinance parts of your property value. This allows you to forego private mortgage insurance, which costs several hundred a year, and helps with the structuring of your mortgage costs. You can get a fixed loan and an adjustable, to help you pay the mortgage off. Not only that, but you will be able to take advantage of different features offered by different mortgage firms.

For people who need a lot of money and fast, refinancing and cashing out all of your equity is the best and only way to get it. Some of the reasons you may need this money is for your child's college tuition, purchasing more property or investing, paying off standing debts or getting home repairs.

Since you can lose your house if you default on any payment, be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully, and ensure that you can pay the money back each month. Remember, a 100% refinance has higher payments than a regular refinancing loan, and if you are already having credit card or money troubles, refinancing this much of your equity may be a bad idea.

Get estimates from mortgage firms and take your income and bills into consideration before going headfirst into signing away all of your property's value.


The Oblivion keyblade is perhaps the most distinguished keyblade in all of the “Kingdom Hearts” series. Its build is similar to the Kingdom Key (the default keyblade) but it is all black with scroll designs coming off the edges and is very long. Obtaining it in Kingdom Hearts Recoded, if you go to the right area, is not all that difficult.

Progress through the main story, fighting bosses and heartless, until Sora comes to Hollow Bastion and his keyblade goes missing. Hit the two switches to make it into castle at Hollow Bastion, and then press “A” whenever the Heartless come near you to make Goofy and Donald attack them, as they are the only ones who can damage the Heartless at this point.

After getting through the dungeon, and recovering Sora’s keyblade, you will first fight Pete. Like in previous Kingdom Heart games, Pete is of medium difficulty. He can inflict the silence effect, which keeps your characters from using magic, and can summon Damage Blocks to helps him.

Despite these troubles, all you really have to do is circle Pete and smash him with your keyblade until he is defeated. Just keep your guard up, because he can inflict damage when circling him. Just try to stay close to his back, and you should avoid most of the damage. Here’s where it gets harder.

Pete summons Riku to battle you. The first round is easy, but after this Riku begins using a diving attack that is powerful and hard to block, and then he warps around the stage, making it hard to hit him and hard to defend yourself.

Keep running side to side to avoid him as best you can, and attack Riku whenever the chance presents itself. After his health is depleted, Riku will be defeated, and this section of the Hollow Bastion dungeon will be finished.

With Riku defeated, Sora can now claim the Oblivion keyblade which, depending on your play style, is the second best keyblade in the game. This is if you primarily use the keyblade during your battles. If magic is your option, then Oblivion is unfortunately rather useless, but still looks cool.

Cash Advance

There are many finance firms that are willing to offer $1,000 to those in need, providing that the beneficiary has some provable source of income. They also must agree to the firm's repayment schedule, so the firm gets their money back, plus an extra outlined in the schedule. Cash advance firms like this are very likely to charge high interests on this $1,000 credit lending.

Before settling on any one cash advance firm, research all of the firms in your immediate area. It is easy to find cash advance firms that offer $250 to $500, but $1,000 tends to be more difficult. Keep all of your options open, so if your preferred firm leaved you high and dry, you can go to another firm.

$1,000 is a hard number to reach because it is considered a high amount for these cash advance firms, but too small for large loan firms and banks. So, while a loan firm may give you $1,000, it is very unlikely and should not be your first option.

However, while some cash advance firms are willing to give the big $1,000 cash advance, they charge higher rates than the big loan firms. This is because they are lending out smaller amounts, and need to charge this higher interest rate to make a sizable profit. Otherwise, they would go out of business due to lack of profit.

Loan firms tend to be best when you need a loan, but for smaller amounts like $1,000 going to a cash advance firm will help you get that extra money you need without worrying too much about how your credit card will be paid, or how you will get the money for bills.

However, before you sign your name, read all the details and closely examine the payment schedule. If you cannot realistically pay the monthly fees on the $1,000 cash advance, then don't request the money. This will just get you in more financial trouble.

Balance Transfer Option

Everyone is out shopping in the Christmas season, so it's no wonder that this single holiday brings most retailers 25% of their yearly income. Going by that, it's safe to say that January brings consumers their highest credit card balances of the year. Impulse buying during the holiday season is commonly the culprit, as many parents (along with husbands, wives, and friends) tend to get carried away with buying presents.

It's January and those large Christmas bills are coming in. Having several credit cards with high balances can wrack up your monthly budget, and makes it difficult to buy the things needed for daily life.

Most consumers get those 0% APR credit cards with with balance transferring options to alleviate the post-Christmas woes. This is a good idea, because your payment will be consolidated, making the minimum much lower, and the 0% APR makes the minimum payments even lower.

But it's not just as simple as getting a 0% APR card. Before you impulsively apply for one of these cards, compare all the offers you can get carefully. Read the fine print and get all the details before randomly applying.

How long is the introductory period where there is no interest? Some credit cards offer six months of no interest, while others offer twelve to eighteen. The average tends to be twelve. Along with this, consider how long it will take you to pay the Christmas bills (along with any others). If it will take seven to ten months, then don't apply for credit cards with just the six month period.

What about the balance transfer feature? Some credit cards offer free transfers. But, there are others which charge 3% on top of the transferred amount, which can really hurt if the balances are high.

Not only that, but what about the 0% APR? You can easily assume the 0% applies to all purchases, but this isn't always the case. Some cards do indeed offer 0% APR for everything, while others only apply this to transferred balances.

Read the card details, and find out what the percentage rate is after the introductory period. The 0% APR is great for the first year or so, but after that are you being charged 50% of all purchases? Check to see if this is comparable to competitor credit cards.

Lastly, be sure you can pay the monthly minimums every month on this new credit card. If you are late, even once, the 0% APR feature disappears completely, and you are left paying all the extra APR you were trying to avoid. This could make paying for any high bills even harder.

Getting a 0% APR card can really help you out, during the holiday season or any hard financial times. However, be sure to read the fine print and understand what you are getting yourself into. Otherwise, you'll just be in more financial hot water.